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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Empty Suit Thursday: Hey, big spender!

Posted by: Hammer / 12:45 PM

Have you seen this man...

Ever make a hard political choice? Or will he always have it both ways?

ANWAR

Coleman has voted for and against drilling in ANWAR, so it's no surprise that he voted against drilling in ANWAR yesterday, but will likely vote for it as part of the larger budget bill. Of course, it would be unfair to accuse anyone of voting for or against a single provision in the enormous budget bill -- unless you're running against a Bush, in which case you support breast cancer (not breast cancer research or care, mind you, but the cancer itself) or want to fight enemies with spitballs and gut our intelligence services.

Reckless spending

Coleman is willing to accept Social Security privatization even if it includes benefit cuts or massive borrowing. That's not a surprise. Smilin' Norm plays it close to W's vest on the big issues. He tugs a bit at the lead, though, when it comes time to spend more money. Smilin' Norm apparently supports a plan that would restore $14 billion in Medicaid cuts. Good for him; we need more access to health care, not less. He also wants $2 billion more in community development block grants. He wants to build a border guard training facility in International Falls. He wants to increase funding for Pell Grants. Any of these programs might be good ideas, but we have to pay for the services we need. What does Smilin' Norm say about paying for these services: "Raising taxes is the wrong way to go. ... Please know that I will continue to work to enact a pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda, including making the President’s tax relief permanent..."

Puppet or Slave?

The question has often been asked: is Smilin' Norm more a puppet or slave to his corporate masters? When he wants to give gun manufacturers double-secret special immunity from civil suits (after voting to grant all manufacturers a quasi-immunity from class action suits), I think puppet. But when Coleman supports the credit card companies' bankruptcy bill while carrying over $10,000 in personal credit card debt, I think slave. Maybe hostage.

Smilin' Norm says every American family pays an annual $550 bankruptcy tax. Bill Frist claims it's $400 per person per year. The Hammers are losing $2000 a year! Wait, though. Senator Jim DeMint says it's only $400 per family per year. Shwew. I'm dizzy.

When Republicans can't agree on talking points, you know they are just making numbers up. The "bankruptcy tax" is in the form of higher interest rates and "astronomical late payment penalties" according to DeMint and Senator Mel Martinez.

Smilin' Norm explains the tax anecdotally:

Coleman gave the example of a woman from Dallas who filed for Chapter 7, attempting to discharge $122,527 in credit card debt. She wasn’t poor or strained by most standards. She earned $11,500 a month, was paying a monthly mortgage on her $385,000 home, and just before filing decided to buy herself a $50,000 Mercedes. “This might be an especially egregious example, but the bottom line is we do need to end this kind of blatant abuse,” Coleman said.
Coleman is so worried about the anonymous woman in Dallas that he felt it necessary to screw over the millions of Americans who file for bankruptcy because they lose their job, their health insurance benefits run out, they are divorced, or they lose a family member's income due to death or disability. Coleman had several opportunities to amend the bill to protect these people (see last week's post for links), and shook his head "Nay" every time.

Constituent Contact

It has been 22 days since I first contacted Smilin' Norm to ask why he supports personal accounts and opposes privatization. I still await his response.

It has been 9 days since I first contacted Smilin' Norm to ask whether he made up his mind on Donald Rumsfeld. I still await his response.

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